SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – After about three hours of debating today, Nebraska lawmakers decided to move on from a discussion over a bill that would lower property taxes using sale tax dollars. Now it’s back to the drawing board for the sponsor of that bill.
Legislative Bill 289 suggests raising sales taxes in hopes of lowering property taxes and adding an additional 500 million dollars into state aid for schools K-12 in Nebraska. While it sounds like this could benefit schools in Nebraska, Todd Strom, the superintendent of South Sioux city schools said he is concerned that the bill would put a cap on additional funds schools may need in the future.
“We’re very dependent upon the state aid formula and so any tweaking of that state aid formula through the mechanism of this bill, takes away our ability and the ability of our school board to locally react by setting some levee limits,” said Strom.
The bill also proposes to cut about twenty sales tax exemptions, to create new revenue for the tax plan. Business transactions like haircuts, taxi rides, and getting a tattoo would suddenly all be taxed. The measure also would tax the purchase of items like soda pop, some waters, and candy, a plan Senator Adam Morfeld does not fully agree with.
“So I’m raising taxes on the people that I represent. And yet, they’re getting less money and fewer resources for their schools, for their community? That doesn’t make any sense,” said Morfeld.
As of right now, lawmakers have not voted on the bill, and the sponsor of the bill said she plans to regroup and consider new amendments to hopefully get lawmakers to bring the bill back up for debate.